Spanking: Why It’s Not the Answer and Better Alternatives

Positive Parenting Without Punishment

Spanking has long been a common disciplinary strategy used by parents to punish unwanted behaviors in children. However, research increasingly shows that spanking is not an effective approach and can even be harmful to children.

In this blog post, we will examine why spanking is not recommended and provide alternative discipline strategies that parents can use instead.

Why Spanking is Not Recommended

There are several key reasons why experts caution against using spanking as a disciplinary tactic:

1- Spanking teaches aggression. When a parent spanks, they are modeling aggressive behavior. This can send the message that hitting is an acceptable way to deal with frustration or get what you want. Children who are spanked are more likely to act out aggressively toward others.

2- It’s less effective than other discipline tactics. Research shows that spanking is no more effective at changing behavior long-term than non-physical tactics. And it risks making unwanted behaviors worse by failing to teach alternative positive behaviors.

3- Risk of physical harm. Spanking can escalate into physical abuse in some cases. Repeated spanking can also lead to physical injury of the child. This risk is why all major medical groups advise against spanking.

4- Negative impact on the relationship with a parent. Spanking can damage the parent-child bond by causing children to fear the parent. It also fails to teach children why their behavior was wrong. More positive discipline helps children understand expectations.

See also  Building Self-Confidence in Children

5- Risk of mental health issues. Harsh physical discipline like spanking elevates a child’s risk for depression, anxiety, aggression, behavioral problems, and lower self-esteem. The more a child is spanked, the greater their risk of mental health problems.

Spanking Alternative Discipline Strategies

Spanking Alternative Discipline Strategies

Rather than spanking children, experts endorse positive, non-physical disciplinary tactics. Effective alternatives include:

1- Setting clear rules and consequences. Have a handful of simple, unambiguous rules and explain the consequence if broken. Be consistent in following through.

2- Redirecting behavior. With young children especially, simply distracting or redirecting them from the unwanted behavior is effective. Replace the behavior with a better activity.

3- Natural consequences. Let logical, natural consequences do the teaching when rules are broken. For example, if a toy is mistreated, take it away for a period.

4- Loss of privileges. Take away privileges like screen time or dessert when rules are broken. This teaches the connection between good behavior and rewards.

4- Reinforcing good behavior. Notice and praise positive behavior. Reward it with attention, fun activities, or small treats to encourage it.

5- Time-outs. Brief time outs are effective with toddlers. Have them sit alone for 1-2 minutes, without attention, to calm down after misbehaving.

6- Stay calm. It’s essential that parents stay calm and controlled when disciplining. Yelling or insulting will only make behaviors worse.


Spanking and other corporal punishment methods are increasingly discouraged by experts due to evidence of harmful effects on children. Parents ought to employ more positive, constructive discipline tactics to correct misbehavior while avoiding violence.

See also  10 Authoritarian Parenting Tips for Structure and Discipline

Discipline should teach good behavior, not just punish bad behavior. With patience and a supportive approach, parents can find better ways than spanking to improve their child’s conduct. Learn here more about discipline in children and positive parenting tips.


Q: Why is spanking not recommended?

A: Research shows spanking is not effective in the long-term, risks physical harm, can damage the parent-child relationship, and is linked to aggression, behavioral problems, and mental health issues in children. Positive discipline is recommended instead.

Q: Doesn’t spanking work to control bad behavior?

A: While spanking may briefly stop misbehavior, numerous studies show it risks making behavior worse long-term. It fails to teach kids appropriate behavior and self-control. The more kids are spanked, the more likely they are to misbehave and have behavioral problems.

Q: What are the risks of spanking?

A: Spanking can escalate into physical abuse. It’s linked to increased aggression, antisocial behavior, mental health problems, and impaired cognitive ability in children. Spanking also damages the parent-child bond and parents modeling violence.

Q: What are some alternatives to spanking?

A: Effective discipline alternatives include setting clear rules, redirecting behaviors, natural consequences, removing privileges, time-outs, reinforcing good behaviors with praise/rewards, and remaining calm when disciplining.

Q: How can I discipline without spanking?

A: Use alternatives like time-outs for young kids and removal of privileges for older ones. Explain rules/consequences clearly. Reward good behavior. Stay calm, use non-hostile discipline, and focus on teaching kids self-control skills.

Q: Is any corporal punishment ok?

A: No, major medical groups advise against all corporal punishment, including spanking. Non-physical discipline, like time-outs, loss of privileges, etc. is best for teaching children and avoiding harm.

See also  Effective Time-Out Strategies for Children

Q: What if my child is too young to reason with?

A: Toddlers under two won’t understand long explanations but brief time-outs are effective. Always remain calm, redirect unacceptable behaviors, and reward good ones. Be consistent with simple rules.

Q: When is it emotional abuse not to spank?

A: Never. Constructive, non-violent discipline focused on teaching good behavior is recommended, not spanking children for discipline. With a loving approach, spanking is never necessary.